I see the assistant principal through the window. He's standing beside the cafeteria table at which Thing 2 sits.
I open the door and my boy sprints to me, handing me a note.
In my head, I hear my inner voice of reason say, "Crap in a wrap."
(If you recall the last time there was an incident at school involving Thing 2, the assistant principal and a note you'll know exactly why I thought that. If you don't, read that first note and then the explanatory post about it.)
I look at the paper in my hand. It is in Thing 2's print:
"Too many beans at lunch?" I say.
He shakes his head.
"Oh, is this first word 'guess'?"
He does his bobblehead impression.
"Um, is it something bad?"
"No," says the supervisor of the after-school program. I look over at her and notice the assistant principal has left the room. Ah, a red herring.
I think the thinks that only I can think in relation to my first-grader and most of them involve him crying over the slightest of slights and a failure to wash and wipe.
Good things, stupid brain, think good things!
"Did you lose a tooth?"
Here's a pretty close approximation of how he looked when those words fell from my lips.
"Awesome! That's a big one. Did you pull it or did your teacher?" I ask.
"No. It was really loose. And wiggly. And at lunch, I told Brian. And he told me to do this." The boy balls his right fist and gives himself a little tap in the mouth. "Only I did it harder."
"You punched your own tooth out?"
He nods the nod of triumph and pride that I wish he took in matters of greater significance, such as cleaning a plate of green leafy matter or learning to turn a double play, but it's OK. He's got time before all those things really matter.
"Where's the tooth? You didn't swallow it, did you?"
"Uh-uh. Here. The nurse put it in this."
"That is cool," I say and wonder how many of my tax dollars go to supplying these little plastic bastards every year.
* * *
Morning comes. I'm up a little earlier than normal, working on the computer in my office. I hear his 7-year-old ant-stompers thudding down the staircase.
"Hey, Dad. The tooth fairy gave me $2!" The double-l's in "dollars" sound like w's. He's waving the folded bills I had left under his pillow a few hours earlier.
"That's a lot!" I swivel to face him. "But that was a pretty big tooth. Go back upstairs and put it in your bank before it gets lost."
"No. Here." His big-for-his-age hand offers up the bills matter-of-factly.
"What's this for?"
"It's for the money I still owe you for the DS game you bought me when I didn't have enough on my gift card. I only owe you $11.02 now."
"That's right," I say. "$11.02, you do. Thanks, buddy."
He races off with a one-tooth-shy smile, probably to see if the Electricity Fairy fully charged his precious game player overnight. Which he did.
Later that morning, when my boy is off learning about insects or adjectives or something that will one day be elementary to his being, I slip a couple of bucks down the slot in the metal container that rests silently on his bedroom bookcase.
My Uncool Past
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